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On the 29th of January 1840, Lieutenant Governor William Hobson arrived in New Zealand. It was Hobson’s job to decide on the wording of the Treaty that he had been instructed to make with the Maori chiefs of New Zealand.
Hobson was offered advice by missionaries and others. James Busby helped draft up the Treaty, and on the evening of Tuesday, February 4th, the missionary Henry Williams and his son translated the English text into Maori.
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The following morning on Wednesday, February 5th, over 400 Maori attended a meeting in front of Busby’s house at Waitangi. They listened to the Treaty being read in English by Hobson, and in Maori by Henry Williams.
The meeting ended indecisively and the Maori withdrew to the other side of the Waitangi River to debate through the night. They sought the advice of Henry Williams who told them that it would be in their best interests to sign the Treaty.
On the advice of Henry Williams the chiefs decided to sign the Treaty the following day. On Thursday, February 6th 1840, over 40 signatures or marks were appended to the Maori text of the Treaty and most were from the Bay of Islands.
missionaries and officials carried the Treaty around the country and more than 500 chiefs signed the Treaty of Waitangi at approximately 50 meeting places. With the exception of 39 Waikato chiefs, all signed the Maori version of the Treaty.
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